Suresh Garodia vs State of Assam 2024 INSC 39 – Rape Case Quashed – 34 Years Delay To Lodge FIR

Summary: In 2016, a woman complained that the accused raped her 34 years ago – In Final report Investigation Officer opined that the case was of a civil nature and filed only for the greed for the property of the appellant- Magistrate rejected this Final Report and took cognizance under Section 376/506 of IPC- HC rejected accused’s plea challenging this order – Allowing appeal, SC held: Lodging a case after 34 years and that too on the basis of a bald statement that the prosecutrix was a minor at the time of commission of offence, could itself be a ground to quash the proceedings. No explanation whatsoever is given in the FIR as to why the prosecutrix was keeping silent for a long period of 34 years. The material on record shows that the relationship was consensual, inasmuch as the son who is born out of the said relationship has been treated by the appellant as his son and all the facilities, including cash money, have been provided to him. (Para 13)

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 190 – Magistrate, while exercising his powers under Section 190 Cr.P.C., is not bound to accept the final report of the I.O. However, if the Magistrate disagrees with the finding of the I.O., the least that is expected of him is to give reasons as to why he disagrees with such a report and as to why he finds it necessary to take cognizance despite the negative report submitted by the I.O.

Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973; Section 482 – The power of quashing a criminal proceeding should be exercised very sparingly and with circumspection and that too in the rarest of rare cases. The Court would normally not embark upon an enquiry as to the reliability or genuineness or otherwise of the allegations made in the FIR or the complaint.

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